Finally, I’m Proud of American Soccer
Soccer isn’t exactly our sport in the United States, so its a rare occasion for me to be a proud US Soccer fan. Yet the recent prosecution of FIFA corruption by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is one political move that I am excited to stand behind as an American.
Corruption exists all over the world. The 10-year-old boy who mows my lawn and charges me twice as much as the neighbors because he assumes I don’t know any better had to have learned this behavior somewhere.
While most American kids can’t name a single profes- sional soccer player, most of the world’s youth have their favorite players, teams, and leagues. The excitement rises to an unimaginable level during the World Cup, which is arguably the world’s paramount sporting event. Though the US squad has been steadily improving—even making a nice little run last summer— we certainly haven't contributed the best players or championships to the great sport; yet I stand proud that the contribution we'll be remembered by is that of trying to clean the game of corruption in sight of the world’s youth.
Ongoing investigations con- tinue to reveal the breadth of the FIFA scandal and time will tell how far reaching the corruption has been. Yet one thing is clear: money has indeed changed hands in exchange for votes and favorable decisions on where to hold the tournament, which is historically a huge economic boost for the hosting country. While some world leaders have pushed back on the United States’ inquiry into these crimes because they may be a normal occurrence in their country, I stand proud that even though soccer isn’t “America’s national pastime,” we won’t tolerate malfeasance and bribery. In the words of FBI Director James Comey: "If you touch our shores with your corrupt enterprise, you will be held accountable."
We may not have the winning team or the best location to hold the tournament these next few rounds. But that’s okay, because right now the US officials are proving that we want to earn those rather than buy them. May this be a lesson for the boy who mows my lawn, and all of the world’s youth, that while trickery may bring temporary success, moral integrity is the lasting, fulfilling path